Possible influence on a Fleming story
Bear with me on this one…
I’ve been watching the three movies in the Universal “Creature from The Black Lagoon” series (they’re short films, between 60 and 90 minutes). These were made in the 1950s, and were Universal’s last go at their well-known horror cycle (Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolf Man, etc). The main Bond connection is that the Creature (when underwater) is played by Ricou Browning who worked on the underwater scenes in “Thunderball” and of course “Never Say Never Again”.
The first is “Creature From The Black Lagoon” (1954), which had some slight influence on Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975). The second is “Revenge Of The Creature” (1955) which was practically remade as “Jaws 3” (aka Jaws 3D, 1983) both in overall plot and specifics. It also features the first screen appearance of a very young Clint Eastwood as a lab tech. None of these are original thoughts and can easily be found online.
The third is “The Creature Walks Among Us” (1956) and I just watched this tonight. Here’s a quick plot summary-
A rich, unpleasant guy either owns or charters a boat and goes searching for a rare water creature, the expenses for which he can write off against tax. He brings along his young blonde glamorous wife, with whom he has an unhealthy relationship, and hires professional help. His methods are unethical, involving poisoning the water to obtain the creature. About halfway through the story, all are having a drink and the rich guy has too much and is off-putting to the people he has hired and nasty to his wife. As a direct result of his own behaviour, he is killed towards the end of the story, and at the end his widow is much happier because she is finally free, although some questions remain unanswered.
Okay, got that? If it sounds familiar, it should. Every word of that can be applied to Ian Fleming’s “The Hildebrand Rarity” (published 1960 as part of the “For Your Eyes Only” anthology). Now I’m not suggesting that Our Founder secretly liked to watch B-grade (and I’m being generous) horror movies- I think that we would know about that by now, given the amount of research that has been done on his life and the various biographies that have been written- but it is interesting that there are so many identical plot points between a 1956 film and his 1960 story.
I grant that I have been selective in summarising the film’s plot, but I thought the similarities were definitely worth mentioning as I’m pretty sure they haven’t been commented on previously.